Sixnet Makes the Case for Industrial Grade Network Switches
Summertime temperatures can test the stability of even the most powerful commercial-grade Ethernet switches. When ambient temperatures reach 90 degrees or higher, networking closets located outside can literally bake the components they’re designed to protect. That’s where companies like Sixnet enter the picture. Here’s why.
Industrial-grade switches from companies like Sixnet can take the heat. No longer the forgotten sibling of the IT world, industrial-grade switches have come into their own as viable alternatives to commercial-grade.
“Imagine putting a 3Com switch on a factory floor, where there’s all kinds of dust and junk blowing around. Not only is it hot, it’s also dirty. You may have a fan to cool the switch, but the fan is just pulling that junk into the switch,” said Scott Killian, global director of PreSales Solutions at Sixnet. “Non-industrial switches will work, but you don’t know for how long. Industrial grade is designed to handle the extremes.”
Sixnet, which makes industrial-grade components including Ethernet switches, sees an opportunity for solution providers with industrial-grade products as more companies move to an all-Ethernet environment and the lines blur between traditional and rugged installations.
“Typical engineers who did control systems can’t do higher-end IT, which is what a lot of these newer installations are,” Killian said. “We see it as an evolution. True IT people are getting more involved as more companies migrate to Ethernet. We see these products becoming more popular.”
Further blurring the line, Sixnet recently released a line of industrial-grade metro-class Ethernet switches that “is equivalent to Cisco,” he said. “They are fully sealed, all SFP-based architecture, with a full Cisco-like CLI (eds: I think this is short for command line interface). These are high-end products but are designed so the IT guys that are used to the Cisco 2900 or 3000 platform can implement.”
The company’s release of the Cisco-like switches parallel’s Cisco’s release of its own line of industrial products, which Killian said proves an opportunity for solution providers exists. “We figured if Cisco is moving in that direction then we made the right choice,” he said.
“It’s all about where the money is going,” he added. “Cisco entered the market because that’s where the recovery dollars are going. It’s not a flooded market, and there is the opportunity to become a premier VAR in this space.”